Calming outdoor patio grey furniture and design.

Outdoor Decor Ideas: Creating Your Perfect Patio Or Deck

7-Minute ReadUPDATED: July 22, 2022


With the weather getting nicer, it's the perfect opportunity to enjoy the outdoors again!

No matter how big or small your patio or deck is, there are numerous options to make your space inviting for guests. Read on to figure out how to turn your patio or deck from a secluded area to a well-decorated oasis with the right lighting and furniture.

Decorating Ideas For Small Patios And Balconies

Having a small patio or balcony doesn’t mean your creativity should feel limited. Browse our affordable patio decorating ideas that will help you save space this summer.

Choosing Your Design Elements

Wood flooring is a typical go-to for patio flooring, but it can weigh a ton and installation can be expensive. However, composite wood flooring is impacting the outdoor market by giving consumers a wood finishing look through vinyl without the hassle. Depending on the look that you’re going for, composite wood decking can make your patio or balcony look contemporary, refined, or bucolic.

Composite wood decking comes with many advances, once of which is maintenance. Cleaning consists of soap and water to remove any dirt, which is why composite wood flooring is the cheaper and eco-friendly alternative to wood. This type of flooring doesn’t expand, attract termites, or require polishing. Other pros include fire resistance to keep your family safe, and a cost of $9 – $17 per square foot, which is substantially lower than treated wood, which is approximately $15 – $25 for the same amount.

Picking a color for your patio or balcony should be reflective of the ever-changing colors of nature. According to the Pantone Spring/Summer 2021 Fashion Color Trend Report, colors should have the flexibility to work all year ’round, bring forth relaxation, and uplift our moods. Pantone’s color recommendations include rust, sky blue, purple, fuchsia, various shades of green and neutrals.

Not only are plants great for releasing oxygen, but they also provide another inexpensive method to add color to your garden or patio. If your patio has a lot of shading, then the Tuberous begonia would be a great fit for you. This type of plant requires high shade and no direct sunlight. It also produces vibrant colors, such as yellow, white and pink, all summer long.

Even for the forgetful people, here are a few options of low-maintenance plants. Daylilies are perfect for the novice gardener because they require no upkeep, and they are also insect resistant. It is recommended to plant daylilies in a location with at least 6 hours of sunlight.

Plants don’t have to be confined to just in the ground or hanging pots – you can apply your plants on a vertical space to fill in an empty area. This option also gives your back a rest. Since every space is different, the height of your space is going to be completely up to you. However, vertical gardens are usually three to five tiers and are made from wood, metal frames, or both.

Hang String Lights

Warmer weather is rousing us to go outside and enjoy the view, but there’s no need to sit in the dark. String lights are perfect deck decorating ideas on a budget to illuminate your patio and deck, by making your space look more welcoming.

Hanging string lights from above can make your patio or deck look trendy and cozy. If you have wooden panels, you hang them alongside vertically or even wrap the lights around. If you don’t have panels, no worries. You add a few string lights above, starting from your roof and ending at your rails to create a tent-like effect.

Candlelight dinners don’t have to be designated for indoors. You can also enhance your outdoor dining experience with lanterns and candles. Visit Wayfair and Amazon to get ideas on modern metal and glass lanterns for your dining table.

Incorporate Multipurpose Furniture

Outdoor multipurpose furniture can be used in multiple ways since it comes with interchangeable parts. For example, instead of buying a set of furniture for a fire pit and outdoor dining area, you can get a set that comes with chairs and a sofa to save space for decor. Sectional furniture is a brilliant way to make the most of your space without going outside of your budget.

Keep in mind, patios and decks are extensions of our homes. It’s practically essential to add water-resistant furniture, to give your space a modern and welcoming feel.

Update Your Landscaping

Let’s investigate regular landscaping, which is so simple even a beginner can do it. The first step is to figure out if you want to have a vegetable garden or a flower bed. You can even create a visual to incorporate both as a guide.

Once you have a distinct outline for your patio or deck design, you must reflect on your environment. Located in a dry area? Succulents are going to be the best option for your outdoor area. However, if your environment alternates between rain and sunny weather, create a list of plants that withstand heavy rain and are heat tolerant.

Add Curtains to Increase Shade and Privacy

Decks can be extensions of our homes, so a great way to give your outdoor space a cozy feel is to add height by hanging up curtains. Curtains create the illusion of a wall and add a luxury look as if you are vacationing on an island.

To achieve this look, you are going to need thread pipes, lag bolts, a wooden post to give your curtains the necessary height, and washers. Other small items include a saw and drill. Lastly, the type of curtains you buy will depend on your style, but if you want to aim for a flowy look, sheer rayon curtains are highly recommended.

Decorating Ideas For Larger Decks And Patios

There are so many things you can do with your deck or patio, especially if you have a lot of space. Whether you want to change your flooring or add a pool, there are several ways that you can create a visual flow. It's no secret that an all-wood deck can make your outdoor space look very bare.

One thing you can do to bring warmth to your outdoor space is to add a hardtop gazebo or a canopy. Gazebos can cost $200 – $2,000; this will depend on what type of gazebo you need for your backyard.

A fun and affordable DIY project for this summer could be making your canopy. You would need four long posts, sheer curtains, and a solid foundation to secure the posts. You can do several different types of furniture, such as lounge chairs or even a day bed to execute a true resort look.

Redefine Your Space With Rugs and Layering

Before adding your accessories and furniture, your deck and patio can look very dull and minimal. To prevent this from happening, you want to add softness to your area. A great way to do this is to add an outdoor rug. Rugs can define your space by adding color and texture to your deck that may consist of a lot of stone or wood. Most importantly, adding a beautifully textured rug can bring comfort to you and your guests by allowing everyone to kick off their shoes.

When placing furniture on rugs, be sure to have it close to the edge to fill out the space of the large outdoor rug. Also, instead of a large dining set, think about using pillows for seating and adding a coffee table. This will give your outdoor space a more bohemian look.

Spruce Up Your Accessories

Designing your custom deck is more than adding flooring, furniture and pergolas. Narrow in on the small components that can make your deck stand out. Playful seating like a hammock or a swing chair can make your deck or patio unique and become your new favorite place to read a book or even take a nap.

If you have a small deck, adding a large ottoman would be perfect. Ottomans can serve as a flat surface for serving drinks, as well as placement for beautiful floral arrangements. They can range from $47 to $300 and can add texture to your space.

Adding an umbrella to a deck is essential for the summer – they can make your space look refined and provide you and your guests with much-needed shade. Umbrellas are also very affordable and can be large enough to define your space.

Think about bringing entertainment outdoors to make your deck feel more like a living room. If your space is large enough, it would be best to have a TV mounted onto a solid stone or brick structure that is weather-proof. Creating an outdoor entertainment area can be more expensive than your usual indoor living area since it has to be able to handle elements of nature.

Expand Or Update Your Deck

The aroma of food cooking on the grill combined with the laughter of family and friends and great music makes a perfect summer day. Sometimes cooking inside of our homes can become a little too steamy and increase our energy usage by needing air-conditioning. What if you were cooking outside with a fresh summer breeze? That’s right! This summer you can have an outdoor kitchen to entertain your guest. No more people coming in and out of your home to use the microwave – they can get their freshly cooked meals right from your backyard with no hassle.

Outdoor kitchens can include several elements like a stovetop, oven, built-in grill, or a brick oven for wood-fired pizza. Appliances and installations are approximately $2,000 – $10,000. Then again, a more luxury outdoor kitchen can cost as much as $100,000. This improvement will make you a great candidate for a personal loan from Rocket Loans®.

Adding concrete to your deck is another great option because it is cost-effective and sustainable. It can give your space a chic look and be very versatile. Concrete can come in colors besides the standard gray, and it could be granite or marble. You can also make patterns out of concrete, and since it is prepared onsite, there is ample time to perfect the color to meet your needs. The average cost to install concrete is $3 – $20 per square foot. Altogether, you’re looking at paying up to $3,000 for a concrete patio.

If you live on a beach, adding a mudroom would be a great way to keep the inside of your home spic and span. Mudrooms can cost $4,500 – $10,000. However, there are ready-to-ship entryway cabinets that can be placed by your patio or deck door. This option can cost $260 – $4,000.

Build A Pergola

A pergola is a great way to improve the function of your outdoor deck, by adding shade and providing shelter from the beaming sun during warm summer days. Pergolas are outdoor structures that consist of columns that support surrounding beams.

Pergolas can either be covered or uncovered, attached or detached from the home. This type of structure is larger in scale and can include architectural elements such as marble or simple masonry. Simple pergolas made from lumber can be built in a weekend for the fraction of the cost.

The correct wood length is crucial for your pergola to be sustainable, opt for 12 feet by 12 feet to have increased durability. As for the type of wood, pressure-treated lumber is the most cost-effective compared to cedar. Overall, building a lumber pergola costs up to $400. The most important step of building a pergola is securing it. For a non-concrete foundation, longer post need to be considered to dig a hole deep enough to secure the four posts. A deck with a concrete foundation planter could be used to fasten the pergola.

The Importance Of Layout

The layout for a patio or deck can set the tone for your sanctuary. When considering your layout, it is important to include the purpose, amount of shade, the view, how close you would like your patio or deck to your home, and most importantly the amount of space you have available.

Decks can have multiple functions, including cooking; therefore, when using your deck for grilling, it would make more sense to have your deck near the home. This will limit the amount of time you have to transfer the food from outside to the kitchen.

If your outdoor space is large enough, you can create designated areas for both seating and dining. One thing to keep in mind is, not all the furniture has to be an exact match for designated areas; however, they should have something in common, like color, material or scale. For small spaces, layouts are fundamental because you want to prevent your deck or patio from looking crowded.

Final Thoughts: Create An Enviable Outdoor Space

Deck and patio projects can be as little as adding an ottoman and throw pillows on your already existing furniture, to installing a pool or new flooring. And for larger, costly projects, keep in mind that you can get a personal loan from Rocket Loans to help pay for initial costs. Let the planning begin!

Apply For A Personal Loan.

Explore your options today and see what's possible in one simple click.